Neighbors looking out for neighbors - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Neighbors looking out for neighbors

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KENNEWICK, Wash. - Kennewick Police arrested a man early Thursday morning after getting reports that he broke into his ex-girlfriend's apartment. He faces several charges including burglary and resisting arrest.

Police say neighbors played a big role in the quick arrest. By calling 911, they probably helped prevent the incident from becoming a serious domestic violence assault.

"They could hear screaming and glass breaking. Well, if that's all you know, that's plenty," said Kennewick Police Sergeant Ken Lattin.

Around 2:15 a.m. Kennewick Police were called to the Kent Manor apartments. Officers said a woman's ex-boyfriend had broken in. She called police and so did some of her neighbors.

"Officers arrived there very very quickly. She was already trying to escape out the front door. He was following . As police arrived, coming up the stairs, he went back inside, locked the door and tried to jump out the second story balcony where was greeted by additional officers and taken into custody," Lattin said.

The suspect, 32-year-old Felix Garza, was under a no contact order. Police said he assaulted the victim less than a month ago.

"Now, imagine this: He gets in but she's not able to call and nobody else calls because they don't want to get involved. Imagine what could have happened. It's the what could have happened that is really scary. Fortunately a lot of people did call," Lattin said.

"If there's five officers or seven officers, whatever the city can have on the streets. They can't be everywhere at once. So, what's important with the neighborhood watch is the people can actually help you watch for you," said Richland Police officer Rick Cane.

In Richland there are nearly 30 neighborhood watch programs set up.

"Whether they're in a formalized neighborhood watch or not, they need to call police so we can get out there to help them. The reality is even without the formalized group, it really is helping out each other, us looking out for each other," Cane said.

To set up a neighborhood watch in your neck of the woods all you have to do is contact your local police department and they'll give you directions in how to set it up. And it's not just for homeowners, the same can be done in apartment communities.

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